Aortic Valve Stenosis, TAVR

Led by F. James Fleischhauer, M.D., FACC, an interventional cardiologist at Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute, the TAVR team has completed more than 50 TAVR procedures. 

Aortic Valve Stenosis, TAVR

Aortic valve stenosis is the calcification and hardening of the aortic valve. It occurs primarily in the older population and has the same risk factors as atherosclerosis – poor cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity and unhealthy diet. As the hardening of the valve progresses, it becomes more and more difficult for the heart to do its job of pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) introduces a replacement valve at the end of a catheter through a small incision, usually in the leg, making it a good option for patients unable to undergo traditional heart surgery.

“The replacement valve is now in its third generation and advancements have made the procedure an option for even more at-risk patients,” says Dr. Fleischhauer.
Like the MitraClip procedure, the TAVR procedure can be done in 30-45 minutes and normally requires only a day or two in the hospital.

“In order to become a TAVR center you have to meet stringent criteria set forth by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,” says Dr. Fleischhauer. “You have to have certain surgical volumes, you have to have two surgeons who do a certain number of procedures every year, and you have to have an interventional cardiologist who has done a number of structural heart disease cases and there aren’t many of those out there.”

 “The first TAVR procedure I performed was on an 84-year-old man. When I asked how he was doing after the procedure, he exclaimed that he had slept like a baby. His heart murmur had been audible in his ear, especially when he laid down at night. He had gotten his first peaceful night’s sleep in 15 years.” - Dr. Fleischhauer